Those mall trips are infrequent—about once a month. More often, Athena and her friends spend time together on their phones, unchaperoned. Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, they talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear. They make sure to keep up their Snapstreaks, which show how many days in a row they have Snapchatted with each other. Sometimes they save screenshots of particularly ridiculous pictures of friends. “It’s good blackmail,” Athena said. (Because she’s a minor, I’m not using her real name.) She told me she’d spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. That’s just the way her generation is, she said. “We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”
Absent the $1000 in spending money that Jarhead suggests I think a motorized electric bike and a portable solar charge could come in handy. I’ve seen some of these bikes sell for $300 brand new online. Throw in a good $100 fold up charger and you can augment your leg power for distance and steep uphill climbs. It’s not a best case scenario and it would still take a good month or more to get home from 1000 miles away but it will definitely speed things up and may save you a heart attack. You would just need to make sure the electric parts were hardened from an EMP.